It takes all kinds, I’ve discovered, when you have a large family.
When Animal and Mineral were babies, I remember telling My Chemical Romance that I wish we’d had two of Mineral — or maybe it was two of Animal? I hardly remember anything about their babyhoods. It was all a blur of bottles and biting. Now I have five babyhoods to try and remember. Here are a few anecdotes I recall clearly:
1. Holding a teething Mineral, who bit my arm, HARD, after which I immediately put him down (gently) and he began crying hysterically. My Chemical Romance picked him up and said, in a sing-songy voice, “Oh no! Did mommy leave you on the side of the road? Did mommy put you out with the trash?”
2. Animal vocalizing in a way that sounded like he was saying, “Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!”
3. The Informant’s first word was
I’m telling “doggy.”
4. My Masterpiece started sucking her thumb regularly at five months old.
5. Porcelain loves overhead fans, she stares at them and coos adorably. We call them her “buh.”
Sometimes I feel like my kids get a bad rep. Yes, they sometimes drive me crazy, yes, my house is LOUD, LIKE WOULD EVERYONE PLEASE STOP SHRIEKING THE SMOKE DETECTOR COULD BE GOING OFF AND I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO HEAR IT OVER THE SOUND OF SOMEONE YELLING ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE BREATHING ON THEM PURPOSELY — and no, I don’t get a lot of time away since I homeschool, but I feel I should make it abundantly clear: I love my children.
They are all challenging in their own ways: they challenge my ideas of nature versus nurture and they challenge all the parenting books I’ve read (really, I think Alfie Kohn would take a look at them and throw up his hands). They challenge me to parent the way I want versus the way I think they need versus the way I haven’t had enough sleep and have changed seven sets of sheets and do not have the patience for another game of Memory today nor do I want to fight about homeschooling again.
But I love them. They each have a unique take on the world, they each have their own beautiful characteristics and attributes, and although sometimes those traits don’t mesh with what I want from them, it’s not about me — yet another parenting thing I’ve learned. I didn’t choose them — nor do I believe that uber-crunchy concept that they chose me, like, really? Did they want to live in a house with weak A/C and a mom addicted to MTV reality shows?!?!? Was that appealing to the little blastocysts in some way???? — but we’re coexisting, usually happily. I give myself a lot of license for hyperbole as I am an artist.